Welcome back to Monsterpiece Theater, my friends. Last year, we looked at several classic horror stories and their treatments on the silver screen. It was a lot of fun, but there was one book that got away. That was too bad, as it’s a personal favorite of mine and truly stands out. For in this tome, evil is bound by no particular trait.
You see, the villain in The Hound of the Baskervilles was driven by greed and was willing to do whatever it took to take over the estate. Edward Hyde was but an alter ego that allowed Henry Jekyll an outlet to indulge in his unscrupulous desires. And Victor Frankenstein’s Creature was an experiment borne of its maker’s prideful hubris- its darker nature ultimately the result of neglect and isolation.
evil for the sake of evil itself. Now, this kind of figure is hard to create. The temptations for the writer to go either too serious or too cartoonish are bountiful. But this book contains a villain that embodies the essence of evil perfectly- a character so beyond redemption and existing solely for the chaos that he brings. He is truly a blight upon humanity.
And what better creature for this being to be than a vampire? True vampires, mind you. This is before Joss Whedon and Stephanie Meyer turned the demons of the night into self-absorbed hipsters and glittering pixie sticks.
via blood- from the living. And afterwards, its victims are condemned to the same damnation until a courageous soul comes forward to bring the cycle of death to an end. It’s a feat few can- or will- accomplish.
“The mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran down over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood. He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion…And that name is Dracula.
“…I seized a shovel which the workmen had been using to fill the cases, and lifting it high, struck, with the edge downward, at the hateful face. But as I did so the head turned, and the eyes fell upon me, with all their blaze of basilisk horror. The sight seemed to paralyze me, and the shovel turned in my hand and glanced from the face, merely making a deep gash above the forehead. The shovel fell from my hand across the box, and as I pulled it away the flange of the blade caught the edge of the lid which fell over again, and hid the horrid thing from my sight. The last glimpse I had was of the bloated face, blood-stained and fixed with a grin of malice which would have held its own in the nethermost hell.”
…I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere…The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring.”